Adrian Iselin was a financier who invested in and developed real estate, railroads, textile, and mining companies. At the outbreak of the Civil War his Wall Street firm of A. Iselin & Company was so strong that it helped to finance the United States Government. Socially, the family was among the elite high society in New York City. Above all others, the Iselin family had an enormous impact on the growth and development of New Rochelle.
Adrian Georg Iselin was born of Swiss ancestry in 1818. He moved to New York City as a young man in 1845 and in 1845 married Eleanora O'Donnell of Baltimore. Like many rich men of his day, Iselin had a portrait of her painted by John Singer Sargent, the famous American artist.
An avid yachtsman, Adrian selected the attracted Sound shore community of New Rochelle for his summer home in 1858. Over forty years he and his children transformed the farms on Davenport Neck into extraordinary estates. In the northern part of New Rochelle, they eventually owned expanses of farmland and reservoirs that led to the first New Rochelle water system.
When he retired from business in 1878, Adrian Sr. focused his attentions to improving conditions in his adopted community of New Rochelle. In addition to starting the original water company, he established and built a full-equipped “gymnasium” for the public.
Adrian and his wife, subsequently their daughters Miss Georgine and Mrs. (Eleanora) Delancey Kane were major funders of Catholic causes, establishing St. Gabriel's and St Joseph's churches, and their parochial schools, as well as New Rochelle Hospital.
Sons Adrian Jr., William E., Columbus O'Donnell, and Charles Oliver were each successful businessmen. Adrian and Columbus bought up extensive property in the community, and developed Residence, Neptune, Homestead, and Sycamore Park neighborhoods. All great yachtsmen, C. Oliver was five times defend of America's Cup.
Related albums • See other albumsNew Rochelle Walk of Fame
Related locationsNY, Westchester Co, New Rochelle
Related peopleAdrian Georg Iselin